The California Experiment

Let me start at the end. I’m not in California anymore. I moved back home to Massachusetts at the beginning of August after a very long, confusing, and painful month of July. I’m finally able (I think) to write about the whole experience and why I left, so here goes.

My decision to go to California was based on a lot of different things. For one, I’ve been hearing for quite some time from many different people how much I would like the West Coast. My dad is from NorCal, but most of my time spent there was before the age of 12 (it gets expensive to fly a family of 4 across the country more than every couple of years!) and my memories of it were scattered and few, making it a new place to explore. After living Italy – and moving back here – I found I was craving that sense of adventure, of exploring another culture, and that prospect was very exciting to me.  It’s also the birthplace of the sustainable food movement in America, so it seemed like a good place for me to continue my whole good-food-career journey. When I got the internship with MESA, it seemed like the right choice, or at least one of many right choices I could make: it would give me greater depth of knowledge about the agriculture side of sustainable food, I could build an organization’s social media strategy from the ground up, and it was in Berkeley. Visions of Chez Panisse danced in my head.

I didn’t go there with it in mind to “recreate” my experience in Florence, but I think to an extent I expected some similarities between the 2 here and there, not the least of which being the enjoyment of a little independence. Ok, ok, and really good food. (And by good, I mean local & sustainably-raised. Delicious is redundant.)

I went to Florence to heal, to get away, and ended up finding myself. I came to California hoping to find more of myself, and ended up getting more lost than ever.

I spent the month leading up to my move mentally preparing myself for the transition, something I’ve trained my introverted & highly-sensitive brain to do in such circumstances. I prepared to learn a new public transportation system, to find some kind of job, to learn as much as possible about the non-profit I was interning with, and to search for a little more clarity regarding my career path.

What I didn’t prepare for – the horridly uncomfortable living situation, the stress of managing 2 internships in one of the most expensive areas of the country, the fact that I had to do everything completely and fully alone – caught me off my guard.

But I have learned a great deal, and it has made the experience worth it.

  • I process things at a ridiculously slow rate. It’s annoying, but it’s also not changing, so I better learn to accept it and deal.

I’m pretty sure this is something everyone does, but I only just became cognizant of how incredibly slow I am with sorting out my feelings and thoughts about, er, most things. We’re talking months. And it’s a real bitch. It often means not taking chances and thinking a LOT before doing, and possibly missing some great opportunities in the process. But now that I’m aware of it, I can give myself the necessary time to deal with things. I’m sure there are people who disapprove, but this is important for my sanity, so I really don’t care.

  • Your gut is right. If you don’t love it or it’s not right, move on. Doesn’t matter what ‘it’ is.

I experienced some pretty intense culture shock, which is not something I’ve really ever come up against. And this was perplexing for many reasons, including 1) I’ve traveled to 9 different countries (and all over this one) and have never really felt culture shock before and 2) I did NOT think it would happen when I’m still in my own country, but it does and it did. And when the culture shock receded and I started learning more about the culture itself, I experienced something else completely new: I did not fit. I felt like a puzzle piece that was being shoved into the wrong part of the puzzle, and this was a very interesting feeling. There is plenty about Italy (and Florence) I could have done without, but it felt like home from day 1. Same happened with my college in South Carolina. They weren’t perfect, but I always felt more or less at home. But the entire 4 months I was in California it just felt…wrong. I don’t really know why. It’s a lovely place to live. The people are very nice. It just wasn’t the right place. And when you’re getting paid next to nothing and living in other people’s subletted living room, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to stay there.

  • I FINALLY understand why people don’t leave their hometowns.

This might make me sound like an asshole, but I swear I don’t intend this to sound condescending: I never really understood why so many people never leave the area where they grew up. And part of this is the fact that both of my parents did leave – my dad is from California and my mom is from Georgia – so I kind of grew up thinking they were the norm, and then I found out they were NOT, and I was kind of…confused. (Until second grade I also thought it was the norm for everyone’s mom to have 2 sisters and everyone’s dad to have 2 brothers like my parents, so I probably should have put 2 and 2 together a little sooner. Like I said…slow to process.) But when I went off to college, I was very specific about wanting to try living in a different part of the country. And I thought of studying abroad as a kind of requirement. I’m very pro-try new things/live in new places. And then I moved to a place where I really didn’t feel like I could identify with the culture, where I felt completely out of place, and I got it. Feeling like that, like a permanent foreigner, is HARD. Building a new network, a new friend group, a new life in a place that you don’t completely get, especially if you have to do it alone? It’s a unique kind of hell, and I do not blame anyone for avoiding it. It sucks. Really, I think I understand how important “place” is; even if I don’t stay in Boston, I do know that where I end up will have to be somewhere I can comfortably and confidently call “home.” It seems I just wasn’t Berkeley enough.


What it’s really come down to is that I simply can’t handle living my life on a temporary, month-by-month basis anymore. And maybe I should be able to. Maybe some think I should suck it up and accept this stage of my life, but I disagree and in this particular case, my opinion is the only one that matters. For the last five damn years I haven’t stayed in the same place for longer than 6 months. A very significant chapter of my life closed when I graduated college, and I was completely unprepared for the emotional side effects of that transition. Seriously, NO ONE told me that it was like dealing with a death. It is. It has taken me a full year to come to terms with that.

I am finishing my internship with WiserEarth virtually. At the moment I’m looking at all my options, including AmeriCorps, Teach For America, teaching English abroad, and of course, grad school. I am trying (but mostly failing) to be optimistic, but the ugly truth is I don’t know what I want to do. I may love food, but the movement behind it doesn’t seem to love me back, and I feel like it’s time to go back to the drawing board. I really, really hate being 22.

Instead of leaving it on that note, I’ll leave it on a better one. Frank is so much nicer to listen to.

Pains, Trains & Automobiles

Photo from this post on Grist.

When I told my parents that I didn’t want to bring my car with me to California, I was pretty relieved. Don’t get me wrong, Daphne & I are bffs – we went through a lot together over the year and a half that I had her, and she gets fan-freakin-tastic gas mileage to boot. But I hate driving. Like, hate. I don’t use that word lightly. It’s part of the whole sensitive personality thing – it completely overwhelms me. I totally get how it’s fun for some people, but the fact that I have to pay attention to all other 50 cars around me while maintaining the correct speed, checking all my mirrors ALL with a strap around my stomach and neck…nothing exhausts me quite like driving. The day after long road trips I would literally walk around with a limp because my hips hurt so bad from the stress I was under the day before in the car. And it is for this same reason that I refuse to ride a bike, which is what most people here do. Non-conformism all the way.

But public transportation and I…we get along.

When I was offered the grant writing internship with WiserEarth, I couldn’t take it fast enough. I was so.effing.excited. I knew Sausalito was not exactly the most accessible place in the Bay Area, but I can be quite stubborn when I need to be (thanks Mom), so I knew I’d just find a way to make it happen.

Map picture

The pushpin on the right is where I live. The pushpin on the left is where the WiserEarth offices are located.

What’s that you say? That there MUST be a ferry to zip me right across the Bay? Yeah, that would be logical, wouldn’t it? And therefore, it doesn’t exist. To go the ferry route, I would have to take Bart to Oakland, a bus to Alameda, a ferry from Alameda to San Francisco, and a ferry from there to Sausalito.

NEXT.

Basically, there are two options to get from East Bay to Marin county (which is where you are when you get to the other side of the Golden Gate):

  1. Go north and across the Richmond bridge (that 580 sign you see over the water).
  2. Go into San Francisco and then across the Golden Gate bridge.

Option 1 involved taking Bart to a bus to another bus. Option 2 was just Bart to a bus. That decision pretty much made itself.

Most people hear about my commute and are all ,“WHOOOA, that must SUCK,” but  it’s really not as bad as it sounds. So, I made you a slideshow of my commute, and you can tell if it sounds AND looks that bad. Of course, it’s not sustainable and because I’m hopping from one sublet to the next, I am going to start looking for places in the city, but for now it’s perfectly doable. Really.

So without further ado, may I present…

http://app.sliderocket.com:80/app/fullplayer.aspx?id=339B78A3-A1AA-A272-5662-6BAE639A7468

(Not sure why the player isn’t working, but if you click the link you’ll see it!)

PST…WTF?

Let’s do the time warp agaaaaaiinn!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0SqS2QJdj8

That’s right – I STILL haven’t forgotten I have a blog. You’d think such a thing might slip a girl’s mind after moving across the country, starting two internships and mastering the public transportation system of the entire Bay Area…but nope. Not me. As Monty Python would say, I’m not dead yet.

But, I should probably back up a little bit. If not for you, then for future me who will read this post in five years and wonder what the hell I was doing in May 2012 that would prevent me from updating my blog for over a month.

I graduated from Converse College a year ago almost to the day with a Bachelor’s in English, a minor in music, a shiny tray proclaiming my knack for getting As, and a life plan. I still have all of those…except for that last one. That one fell apart within a matter of weeks.

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Imma sum this up real quicklike, because even though you probably already know all this, it seems like it should be here: I planned (HA) to “work” (for free)  in a restaurant kitchen to get food prep experience necessary for culinary school, which I planned (haHA) to attend the following spring. As in, right now. Well, it sucked and I hated it. Plan B: go to grad school in Italy to become a licensed food nerd. 3 months of prepping for that before I realized….it sucked and I hated it. While I contemplated degree programs here in the US of A, I started an internship with Chefs Collaborative, a national non-profit dedicated to making restaurant kitchens more sustainable. It was awesome and I loved it. A lot. So much, in fact, that I decided to put grad school on the back burner and look into getting a job in the non-profit/sustainability world. I found an internship in Berkeley, CA with the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture and it seemed to be the right step. The West Coast is really where the sustainable food movement started (love me some Alice Waters), so it just made sense that I move out there and see what kind of action was going on. [Side note: The East Coast is an amazing place to be for sustainable food too – there’s really a lot happening there, I just needed to not live at home/explore a new part of the country.]

golden gate (2)

So, here I am. Sitting at a borrowed desk in a rented room in North Berkeley, wondering why in the hell I ever thought I could make a plan for my post-grad activities and actually stick to it. Although, in my own defense, all my friends are where they thought they’d be a year later (grad school/South Africa with the Peace Corps…I have really cool friends.).

It’s been a wild and crazy two months. I guess that’s to be expected, though. Here’s what’s happened since my plane touched down.

1. I found someone who would actually pay me to do things. As someone on her sixth unpaid internship, this was a concept more exciting than words can explain. MONEY? FOR ME? YAY.

shock and dismay

A few weeks before the move, my uncle suggested to me that I look into grant writing as a career. I had really never given it much thought before, but it does make a hell of a lotta sense: writing, for better or for worse, is my strongest talent, and I’m pretty determined to find work in the non-profit sector. So as I started looking for paid jobs in the Bay Area, I decided to see if there happened to be any grant writing internships around. Lo and behold, I found ONE grant writing internship (thank you Idealist) with a non-profit called WiserEarth in Sausalito. Three days after I moved into my room, I went into San Francisco to meet their Executive Director for an interview, and she offered it to me on the spot. I was pretty much over-the-moon excited about this. I started the very next Wednesday and haven’t looked back. I was absolutely shocked by how much I’ve loved the grant writing/development work, but I do. It’s been a perfect fit, and I am so relieved that I found this internship! I’ll do a dedicated post on Wiser and why it’s awesome, but in the meantime I highly suggest checking it out if you’ve never heard of it & joining if you’re into anything social justice/sustainability-related. Yes, shameless plugging, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think it was awesome, and it realllllly is.

2. I started working with MESA.

MESA logo1

Now, technically my internship with them started back in February; I’ve been doing a lot of work on their social media presence, which I something about which I learned SO MUCH with the Collaborative. I actually had no idea just how much I knew about the social media world until I went to a class/lecture in SF on driving traffic to your website, and knew more than their social media expert. The majority of the lecture was fascinating (SEO is such an interesting topic, I think), but I was rather disappointed during the discussion of social media when I found myself raising my hand to add information and clarify statements the presenter made. On the bright side though, I left feeling pretty positive about my own grasp of the topic. ANYWAY. I met them face-to-face, I go to the office once a week, I do things.

3. Sausalito is the least accessible place in the Bay Area. True story.

sausalito day 2 (52)

The WiserEarth office is in the beautiful town of Sausalito, just on the other side of the Golden Gate (in fact, it’s where my roommate & I went when we visited Cali last year!). It’s a lovely place to work. It’s an absolute crap place to get to without a car. BUT, my determination to making public transportation work for me came through, and I have the pleasure of a just-under-2-hour commute 3 days a week. Yes, it’s long, but it’s really not as bad as it sounds. When I got the internship, pretty much every single person I talked to said doing it without a car was impossible. Or stupid. Or both. WIMPS. I mean, no, it’s not ideal, but all I do is walk to the BART station [Bay Area Rapid Transit – underground trains], take the train into SF, then take a bus into Sausalito. It’s neither impossible nor stupid. Just…time-consuming. But I’m down with that. The sun is up by 6:30 now, when I get up, and I prep all my meals for the week on Friday & Saturday. It works.

4. I live…here?

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I have experienced more culture shock here than I have with any of the 9 countries I have traveled to. I think a lot of it is because I wasn’t prepared for it, at least not to the extent to which I felt it, because it’s still in the US. Well, that may be true, but it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it to me. I’ve also never really had to deal with much culture shock; I know that sounds dumb/naïve, but I’ve traveled pretty extensively in my 22 years of life and the few times culture shock might have thrown me for a loop, I was so well-prepared for it it just…never hit me. But NOW I get it. Culture shock is a pain.

And if the Bay Area is a different culture, Berkeley is a different planet. Mostly in a good way; I don’t think I have ever seen so much diversity – and tolerance for it – in one place in my entire life. You really get a sense that everyone here is just themselves, and everyone else is okay with that. Now, I’m from not just from the Northeast. And I’m not just from New England. I’m from Boston, the only city in the world that gives NYC  and Paris a run for the snobby-center-of-the-universe attitude. You think you know snobby? HA. Spend 5 minutes in a room with a Harvard professor, and your definition will be shifted for life. The only exception to that test I’ve met is my father, and guess where he’s from? Yep: Bay Area, born and raised. So, I don’t really know what to do with people who actually smile at me with some genuine feeling. Sorry about that, west coast people. I’m working on it.

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I am slowly adjusting to life in the Bay Area bubble. Adjusting to the time change – and making sure I translate everything to PST – was a lot easier than I expected. Adjusting to everything else…well, we all know I’m no good with transitions. Also I hate, hate, hate, HATE being without this every day:

izzy 11-11 (1)

By far, that is my least favorite thing about this move. I miss her so much sometimes, it actually hurts.

Ok, ok, I know you want to hear allll about the amazing foodventures I’ve experienced. Um…sorry. Aside from discovering the tastebud fiesta that is Acme bread and enjoying the ease with which I can buy local food (living in the state that produces 80% of our nation’s food is pretty sweet), I’ve just been trying to keep my feet on the ground and my head in the right place.

I have multiple posts planned (yay!), and I know I say this all the time, but I really, really, realllllly am going to double my efforts to update at least once a week. I know I can fit it in to my schedule but above all, I REALLY need the writing practice. Writing is exactly like music, in that you should do it everyday to keep the muscle strong, and now that I’ve found myself work that heavily relies upon my writing not sucking, I have GOT to get more practice in. Even if it’s just rambling. (But I have quite a few cohesive post ideas with actual topics planned…so please bear with me!)

OH. And I’m moving. Again. To keep it short, the room I’m renting didn’t work out, so come this Friday I’ll be putting all my stuff into the Prius I use with City CarShare and moving into a new place. And then in another 2 months, I get to move again. Joy.

And that, dear readers, is my life on the West Coast. My next post: a day in the life. With pictures and everything.

A Lot.

The glory of the disposition that stops to consider stimuli rather than rushing to engage with them is its long association with intellectual and artistic achievement. Neither E=mc2 nor Paradise Lost was dashed off by a party animal.

– Winifred Gallagher

More on that quote in a minute. First, I have news. A lot of news.

A few weeks and a phone interview ago, I got an internship I applied for in January with MESA – Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture. Basically, the MESA Program brings farmers from various countries all over the world to the US and connects them with a host farm here, where they learn sustainable farming techniques to take back to their home country and spread the sustainable goodness. I’m pretty excited about it, because I feel like it will position me very uniquely within the world of sustainable food. I’ve focused on sustainability from the chef’s perspective, and now I’m off to look at it from the farmer’s. Plus, it’s got that international aspect that I have so desperately been looking for in the sustainable food world.

And, MESA is located in Berkeley, California. Yep, that’s right – I am moving to the birthplace of the American Local Food movement, mere steps away from the great Alice Waters and the hollowed grounds of Chez Panisse. Or, at least, a bus stop or two from there. I knew it was time to leave Boston, even if only for a few months, and finally an opportunity was in my hands (after many, many letdowns, I might add).

While I won’t be moving there until March, I have started to work for MESA as their Member Resources & Social Media Intern. I’m doing a lot (or at least, I hope I am!) for their Facebook & Twitter presence, and a few other email-centric tasks. All things I’m good at and comfortable doing – and, dare I say, enjoying it to boot! Six months of doing the same with Chefs Collaborative has made me somewhat of a social media maven, and I’m looking to make that more or less into a career at the moment.

Though my tenure with the Collaborative is (sadly!) drawing to a close, I’m still working there two days a week and working on a small project that I’m hoping will benefit future interns there as well. (I’d like to create a solid outline, like a system, for our social media endeavors so that future interns can learn the ropes a bit quicker! Basically, I’m using my OCD tendencies to benefit the next Communications intern and to really dig into the usefulness and many ways to use social media to its full extent…because I want to. More on this later, too.) Projects make me happy, and keep me focused on a single task, and they help me feel efficient and accomplished while helping someone else.

What does this mean? It means I’m on Facebook and Twitter for several hours every day, am constantly checking all 6 of my email inboxes, reading and searching for as many informative sources on sustainable food news as I can possibly find – and in the evening, I’m spending hours on Craigslist trying to find a roof that is 3,000 miles away to put over my head in about a month when I finally move out there. And a good portion of this is done in between letting the dog outside sixty times an hour and making sure she’s not eating plastic, toothpaste, or a pair of expensive shoes.

So what’s the deal with the quote? I recently bought this book:

[Source]

This is a book that every introvert should own – and every extrovert should read.

I needed to introduce this topic before diving into a dedicated post because this book has made me realize that every action, every thought, every doubt, every thing in my life is somehow connected to the fact that I am an introvert.

All the stress in my life right now – a to-do list that never gets shorter, my four unpaid jobs, looking for interesting paid work in the Bay Area, trying to find housing, the prospect of moving across the country for 8 months – all of the stress I feel comes from how I, as an intense introvert, am perceiving it.

Actually, in an odd way, this book has been both a huge help and huge stressor – I am connecting to what Cain is saying on such an intensely deep level, it’s a little overwhelming in and of itself.

I’ve used the word intense a couple times, and for a reason – it’s really the only word I can find that properly describes my life and myself right now. I say myself because it has taken reading this book for me to see just how intensely introverted I am and the impact that part of my personality has had on my life.

This is a topic that is incredibly important to me, and something I am more passionate about than I perhaps realized. In fact, part of the reason it’s taken me so long to post is because I said on Facebook this book would be the topic of my next blog post and I felt that I needed to honor that, but as I have been reading and generating ideas to discuss, the things that the author is bringing to light are making me, among other feelings, downright angry. Anger is a good place to draw inspiration from, but not a place to write from, and I feel that I need to get past the anger to a more thoughtful perspective before getting an essay series down.

This is a long-winded explanation for why I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but it was the only way to do it! I actually have a format for a short series of upcoming posts on being introverted, which is actually a topic I have wanted to post on for several months. When the Barnes & Noble announcement for Quiet appeared in my inbox, I took it as a sign.

I hope you enjoy the series. I’m putting a lot of thought, heart and soul into them because this is a topic I wish more people would talk about.

To conclude, let me explain why I chose to connect the book with all the changes that are happening in my life right now.

Introverts, in general, do not handle overstimulation well. We’ll go to parties or class discussions and enjoy them just as much as anyone – but maybe we need to leave earlier, or go somewhere where we can be alone for a while afterwards. Introverts are not necessarily shy, either – we are just as capable of telling a few jokes or contributing to the discussion as the next person. What sets us apart is that while the extroverts in that classroom will walk out feeling energized and ready to take on the rest of the day, introverts will feel drained from all of that stimulation and need to go somewhere to recharge alone. This isn’t a bad thing – no matter what our extrovert-obsessed society may tell you – it’s just a different way of interacting with the world.

So all of what I am currently facing on a daily basis – the move, the work, and everything in between – all of those stimuli that I am attacking with fervor leaves me completely and utterly exhausted and overwhelmed. It’s just a lot. This is not to say that this wouldn’t be difficult for an extroverted person, either – moving is one of the most stressful things a human can do, regardless of personality. The difference here is the cause of my stress; the fact that I am tackling all of these things at the same time, with the same perfectionism that I bring to everything and most importantly, that every single one of these things requires me to deal directly with other people.

And that is where this post ends and the next will begin.

A Beautiful Blur

Have I mentioned that I was going on a trip to California?

Maybe once. Or twice.

Well, I did! From Thursday to Sunday, my roommate and I ran around northern California for real life/outside-the-college-bubble stuff and little bit of fun. Oh, and food. Always, always food.

15 minutes after our morning classes were out, we were on the road to the Charlotte airport. California adventure? Bring it on.

We stayed with my uncle and his family in the San Rafael area (thanks, family!!), and rented a car to get us around. After the 45 minutes from the airport to their house in which I bit my lips repeatedly, gripped the steering wheel like my life depended on it, and emitted the occasional profanity when someone 2 lanes over sped by at 90 mph, I got quite used to it.

PS, South Carolina drives way too slow.

Day 1: Getting down to business

My roommate is a music therapy major, and as part of her degree she has to do an internship after graduation. Her top choice was (yes, was) in Sacramento and when she started planning the trip so she could audition for them live, I jumped at the opportunity to visit the CIA Greystone campus. Plus – adventure tiiiime! [When you call a trip to the grocery store an adventure, a good reason to go to California in January looks like an epic journey. You understand.]

We dutifully bounded out of bed at 6 in the morning on Friday (is that sarcasm I hear?) to beat rush hour traffic into Sacramento. At least we got to see a pretty sunrise!

A big thank you to my navigator, who sleepily obliged my request to take these pictures 😉

After dropping her off, I zoomed to Napa Valley! The CIA is located in St. Helena, just down the road from Napa and across the street from a vineyard.

 

Culinary school….or castle??

mmmm, grapes 🙂

Turquoise lamp posts! If you are unfamiliar with my turquoise obsession…consider yourself warned.

The herb garden!

I have to admit, part of the pull of this school is its location. Not just wine country – M.F.K. Fisher lived in St. Helena with her 2 daughters at one point in her life. I’ve walked the same ground as M.F.K. Fisher. Whoa.

The town of St. Helena is as cute as it can be! Love at first drive-though.

 

Love the grapes on the street signs!

Note the G on the clock!! Omen?

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I waited for my 3 o’clock appointment with admissions, I spent the afternoon in – where else? – a bakery. A really cute, local organic bakery with incredible coffee.

I haven’t had coffee that wonderfully strong in a while!

I had to stay for lunch, of course. It’s just polite.

Well, that, and I found this sandwich of hummus, goat cheese, lots of veggies and balsamic on focaccia – all my favorite things on bread? Yes please.

After the tour of campus, during which I asked tons of questions and all my mother’s hopes of my liking the New York campus better flew out the proverbial window, I headed back to Sacramento to pick up my kid roommate. Not without about an hour and a half of rush hour traffic. But I did manage to get something out of it…

Tuscany? Is that you??

 

 

 

If anyone asks, I most certainly did not take these while driving/sitting in traffic. That would be dangerous.

Out of hunger and desperation, we chose a brewery on the same street as the internship location for dinner. It actually turned out to be a pretty good choice!

Spinach salad with feta, artichokes, crispy onions and little baby bay shrimp that I subbed for chicken. I’m on the west coast, people – seafood all the way! It was in a really delicious garlic-basil dressing that I am going to try to recreate – both flavors balanced so nicely! Paired with a glass of wine, I was a very happy – and exhausted – girl.

We slept in a bit til about 9 and I made us breakfast – oatmeal, of course!

2/3 c oats, 1 c. of water and 1/3 c. of low fat milk. Topped with a barely ripe banana (when they are not quite ripe, they are better on top – if you mix them in the pot, they are just to starchy and lose all the sweet flavor), peanut butter, and whipped cream. Because it was there. I recommend it heartily 🙂

We decided to have a low-key day because, well, we are pretty low-key people. We headed to Sausalito, a really cute little town (that was apparently the theme of the weekend!) on the other side of the bridge from San Francisco. We wandered, drank more amazing coffee while sitting on a bench and gazing at the water, and of course, we ate.

 

It was a blissful 60 degrees. I’m ready to go back now, please.

[twss?]

Loved the funky hydrant!

sooooo good.

 

 

 

Cheers!

We didn’t plan that…we swear.

 

The bus stop. Obviously.

We made a friend.

For lunch, we decided on the bakery where we found the wonderful coffee. I’ve decided that local bakeries are generally the best choice for dining when traveling. How can you go wrong with bread?

 

Cibo = ‘food’ in Italian. Good sign!

We ordered 2 panini for lunch and split them.

This was the veggie filled with beets, chard, pepper, other veggies and either mozzarella or fontina cheese – the bread was great and the veggies had a lovely sweet flavor that went well with the melty cheese.

We also ordered the prosciutto panini, which had spring greens, peppers and fontina – it was like a crispy, crunchy rainbow! It reminded me how much I love prosciutto. It just has such a wonderful smokey flavor, but it’s so thin. That’s saying a lot coming from an almost-vegetarian!

Dessert is, of course, a necessary thing.

Kona Coffee Fudge yogurt from the apparently famous Lappert’s. Such a good flavor combo!

We spent the late afternoon crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve been to San Fran a couple times, but I was way too young to remember if I’d even done this before, and this time I had a camera!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night night, sun!

It took 16 hours, 2 cars, 3 planes, 4 states and time zones, and a grande sub-par latte from Starbucks  to get us home. But it was worth it.

Well worth it.

What I’m Loving Right Now

1. dried apricots, for the way my teeth sink softly into the mellow, sweet flesh inside

2. organic pink lady apples, for their unapologetically tart but sweet flavor

3. the glorious 50 degree weather today. because it’s about damn time.

4. the big bang theory, for rescuing me from the black hole of academic research. and for sheldon.

5. the fact that I will be in California in 24 hours!!!